Like many people, the Boston Police staff photographer who was on the scene for the capture of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a bit put off by Rolling Stone’s latest attempt at relevancy.
The magazine’s cover story, titled “The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell into Radical Islam and Became a Monster” is led by a cover photo of Tsarnaev that pretty obviously makes him out to be some sort of rock god (wild hair, intense stare, just a little too much “I’m-on-the-cover-of-Rolling-Stone-so-it-doesn’t-matter-who-I-might-have-killed-or-why” attitude).
In response, Sergeant Sean Murphy, tactical photographer on site for the apprehension of Tsarnaev, has released a series of photos that show the accused killer in a less flattering light. Included among the released photos is one that has a sniper’s laser bead on Tsarnaev’s forehead as he emerges from his hiding place.
Sgt. Murphy, describing why he released the new photos, had the following statement:
I believe that the image that was portrayed by Rolling Stone magazine was an insult to any person who has every worn a uniform of any color or any police organization or military branch, and the family members who have ever lost a loved one serving in the line of duty. The truth is that glamorizing the face of terror is not just insulting to the family members of those killed in the line of duty, it also could be an incentive to those who may be unstable to do something to get their face on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. […] To have this cover dropped into Boston was hurtful to [the memory of the departed and to] their families. I know from first-hand conversations that Rolling Stone cover has kept many of them up—again. It’s irritated the wounds that will never heal—again. There is nothing glamorous in bringing more pain to a grieving family. […] An image like this on the cover of Rolling Stone, we see it instantly as being wrong. What Rolling Stone did was wrong. This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
After the release of the magazine cover, which has come under fire from many sectors, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino dropped Rolling Stone publisherJann Wenner a line accusing the magazine of offering Tsarnaev “celebrity treatment” and calling the cover “ill-conceived, at best” by supporting the “terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their ’causes.'”
The letter accused the publication of bald-faced marketing that prioritizes glam over justice. “The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories,” Menino wrote, “though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them.”
In somewhat related news, Shel Silverstein, the poet responsible for making the “cover of the Rolling Stone” the brass ring of hipness, is similarly ticked off.